Sunday, April 12, 2020

Day 623

It's getting a little weird now.

I feel like we're deep into the COVID-19 quarantine, even though "stay in place" has been, what, three weeks? Maybe four?

See? I can't even tell you. It seems like it's been years. Every day has blended into the same day (Groundhog Day?), unless you happen to be deemed essential, in which case you go to work looking over your shoulder wondering if that's the virus that's shadowing you instead of your child.

If you still go to your work station, I'm going to guess that you know what day it is. I'm not sure about working remotely. You're home, but you're conducting business, so there might be a sense of normalcy for you – except for the fact that you're working from home. That's not normal.

But for a guy like me, the routine that marks the time has become too much routine and, consequently, time is passing, not marking. I have to think what day of the week it is. I mean, there's no church. There's no school. For many of us, there's no work.

So we putter around in the garden. Go for a walk. Make the occasional run to the grocery store or pharmacy, wearing a face mask to hide our faces. Our faces are our individualizing trademarks, and now we cover them up. We talk to our neighbors from across the street. We're social animals who can not be social.

And it's every day. Evvvv-errrr-reee day.

But we cope.

My room-rater backdrop
 I'm kind of getting a kick out of watching live TV shows where most guests are shown speaking remotely from their homes instead of from the broadcast studio. Inevitably, it seems, the remote guests are sitting in their home library, in front of book shelves. I find myself cocking my head sideways to read the titles of the books behind them. Sometimes, I find, we've read the same books.

So, to give you a sense of perspective and, hopefully, a little humanity as you read this blog, I used my book shelf as a comforting backdrop as I write to you.

I actually have read all of those books behind me. They're books about the Civil War, a field of history in which I have an interest. I have more than 100 of them, and some of those books I've read more than once.

And now, in quarantine, I'm reading some of those books again.

Man, I miss going to the library.

I think I understand now why prisoners marked each day of their incarceration with daily slashes on the walls of their jail cell. I understand the desperation of that.

One thing I've noticed on Facebook is some of my favorite musical performers are live streaming from their homes. The technology to do this is amazing, and I'm grateful for it, but again, the musicians are performing at home. If they are in a band, they are now soloing. And while familiar songs can be comforting, distinctive harmonies are missing.

But we do the best we can.

These are weird times. Wash your hands. Stay safe.

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